The Surgical Tech Program in Tennessee: What You Need to Know

HealthcareFebruary 19, 2014


A surgical tech program is a great opportunity for those who want to get into the medical field. The surgical tech program is not only a great path to take on its own, but it is also a strong foundation for those who wish to further their career path in the medical industry.

Training in Tennessee

More states are requiring surgical techs to graduate from a CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) or ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) certified program. Although the length of the programs may vary, the national requirements are changing. Some of these changes include the need for all medical personnel to have an AAS, not just a certificate.

A surgical tech program must prepare students to take the national exam. The exam gives graduates the ability to work anywhere in the U.S. Some states, such as Tennessee, require more training after a graduate has earned their Surgical Technologist certification.

Surgical technologists must complete 60 continuing education credits every four years, as outlined by the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST). The Senate Bill 623, signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, is intended to keep medical practices up-to-date and help regulate operating room protocols. According to AORN (Association of periOperative Registered Nurses), this bill not only affects surgical techs, but also the perioperative nurses they work with.

Post-Training Opportunities

Surgical techs are the nuts and bolts of the operating room. These techs are responsible for sterilizing all tools and equipment, ordering supplies, assisting the surgical team during pre-op and providing patient care before and after the procedure. Within the surgical environment, surgical techs have the opportunity to advance to first assistant and second assistant. These roles place techs at the operating table, and assisting the doctors and nurses with duties such as clamping and suturing. Once the tech gains operating room experience, it may be easier to become a nurse in the same environment. Many continuing education courses can help the surgical tech with all of the necessary schooling they need to advance their career.

The key is finding the surgical tech program that is right for you. Make sure the program explains the ongoing requirements needed, according to Tennessee law, and ensure that they can answer all of your specific questions. It is also important to speak with the program's instructors to see how much experience they have in the field.

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